South Florida community collects donations for Dorian-ravaged Bahamas

NORTHWEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Organizations across South Florida are finding ways to help the Bahamas, as Hurricane Dorian continues to linger over the islands.

Hurricane relief efforts were underway Monday at the Smile Trust to collect donations and supplies.

State Rep. Shevrin Jones, D-Fla., spoke about the tragedies some families, including his in the Bahamas, are facing in the aftermath of the storm.

“There are individuals that are now homeless,” Jones said. “There are families over there who are searching for other family members. I’m very shaken up. I know that a lot of the individuals here within South Florida and within our state are concerned about the people of the Bahamas.”

According to officials with the United Nations in the Bahamas, around 60,000 people are expected to be without food and approximately another 60,000 individuals are expected to be without clean drinking water.

Valencia Gunder, director of the Smile Trust, spoke at their community emergency operations center, at 5120 NW 24th Ave., and said they are asking for the following items:

  • Non-perishable foods
  • Baby items (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.)
  • Hygiene products
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Water
  • Chainsaws
  • Tents
  • Shovels
  • First-Aid kits
  • Medical supplies

The Smile Trust asked that people do not donate any clothing.

Gunder said that they’ll try to ship the supplies to the Bahamas by next Monday or Tuesday to give the Bahamian government time to assess the damage wrought by Dorian.

The Smile Trust is not alone in giving back to the Bahamas in their time of need.

Christ Episcopal Church at 3481 Hibiscus Street in Coconut Grove is also lending a hand via a hurricane relief drive organized by the City of Miami.

“We here in Miami have been lucky to have been spared, and so a lot of us have a lot of things, a lot of water and supplies that we might’ve gotten in our preparation,” Father Jonathan Archer said. “Bring it here, so that we can send it to those who really need it.”

Meanwhile, the Global Empowerment Mission is gathering donations at 340 NE 59th Terrace in Miami’s Little Haiti neighborhood.

“I am here to volunteer because my family is in the Bahamas now, and I have not been in contact with them since the storm, and I’m just asking the community to come out and make donations here at Global Empowerment Mission,” volunteer Dawn Titus said.

The organization has a history of offering relief in the wake of disasters.

“The team is ready to go, you see the team is already here,” Michael Capponi, director of Global Empowerment Mission, said. “It’s a major tragedy. From my experience in disasters, this is probably the hardest impact I’ve ever seen.”

Another donation drop was set up at Riverside Market, at 608 SW 12th Ave., in Fort Lauderdale.

“Watching the devastation and the desperate need that people have there, it’s our obligation to help and do good in the world,” Lisa Siegel, a donor, said.

Bright Lights Crossing Borders, a local non-profit organization, have set up several ways for people to donate to the Bahamas.

The organization said people can donate through PayPal on their website and through their GoFundMe page. Those who would like to donate by check or money order are asked to send it to Post Office Box 14393, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33302.

The non-profit said they are also accepting the following items:

  • Water
  • Toiletries
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Clothing
  • Baby supplies

The items listed above can be dropped off at their Hollywood location, at 3930 N. 29th Ave. The organization said they can make arrangements to pick up the items.

Gunder commented on other communities in South Florida collaborating to do everything they can to help their friends in the Bahamas.

“It’s a deep connection,” Gunder said. “Miami has a very large Bahamian population. I mean, the history of Miami was started with the Bahamian people, so it’s a really big thing for us to respond directly to the Bahamas because they’ve always been there for Miami.”

If you wish to donate money to the Bahamas, visit the Smile Trust’s website at mthsmile.com.

Besides the community emergency operations center of the Smile Trust, you can also drop off donations and supplies at the following locations:

From 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. only:

  • Greater St. Paul AME Church: 3680 Thomas Ave.
  • Christ Episcopal Church: 3475 William Ave.

Accepting donations 24 hours:

  • Fire Station 1: 144 NE Fifth St.
  • Fire Station 2: 1901 N. Miami Ave.
  • Fire Station 3: 1103 NW Seventh St.
  • Fire Station 4: 1105 SW Second Ave.
  • Fire Station 5: 1200 NW 20th St.
  • Fire Station 6: 701 NW 36th St.
  • Fire Station 7: 314 Beacom Blvd.
  • Fire Station 8: 2975 Oak Ave.
  • Fire Station 9: 69 NE 62nd St.
  • Fire Station 10: 4101 NW Seventh St.
  • Fire Station 11: 5920 West Flagler St.
  • Fire Station 12: 1455 NW 46th St.
  • Fire Station 13: 990 NE 79th St.
  • Fire Station 14: 2119 S 19th St.

“I figured there was a big need over there based on everything we saw,” said Florida House of Representatives Democratic Leader Shevrin Jones. “That tragedy [is] terrible. They’re our neighbors, they’re wonderful folks. We want to help them.”

The Miami-Dade County Fair & Exposition has created a GoFundMe account to assist the victims of Hurricane Dorian. To donate, click here.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said the county is ready to support those who need help in the Bahamas on Tuesday.

Items being collected at Miami-Dade County government locations for the Bahamas include the following:

  • Water
  • Ice
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Hygiene kits (tissue, toothpaste, tooth brushes, towels, sanitary napkins)
  • Cleaning supplies (bleach, mops, brooms, garbage bags, sponges, clothes pins)
  • Disinfectants
  • Baby formula, bottles and supplies
  • Jerry cans (plastic water bottles)
  • Beds, cots
  • Blankets
  • Portable toilets
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Mosquito repellent (DEET-free)
  • Cooking utensils
  • Temporary housing
  • Tarpaulins
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Plywood
  • Roof shingles
  • Generators
  • Chainsaws
  • Shovels
  • Disposable plates and eating utensils
  • Power banks
  • Solar-powered chargers
  • Portable radios (battery or crank)
  • Cloth bags or biodegradable bags
  • First aid kits (bandages, gauze and tape)

“The county’s urban search and rescue team stands at the ready to help. We have advised the White House over on our willingness to help and we await the deployment of our team over there as quickly as conditions will permit,” said Gimenez.

The drop-off locations are located at:

  • Miami-Dade County Main Library: 101 W. Flagler St., Miami
  • Stephen P. Clark Center: 111 NW First St., Miami
  • Joseph Caleb Center: 5400 NW 22 Ave., Miami
  • Office of Emergency Management Warehouse: 8008 NW 14 St., Doral

Those making donations at the Stephen P. Clark Center in Downtown Miami will have their parking validated. All other drop-off locations have free parking.

“As a country, we’re humbled by the support and we’re overwhelmed by what we’re receiving from Miami straight all the way up to northern Florida,” said Consul General of the Bahamas Linda Diane Mackey.

Food For The Poor is also asking for donations of canned meats, canned fish and canned milk, both evaporated and condensed, and disposable diapers. They will not accept perishable items.

The items can be brought to the charity’s warehouse at 6401 Lyons Road in Coconut Creek starting Wednesday. They will be accepting items between 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The City of Doral will have three drop-off locations throughout the city from Wednesday through Sept. 18. Those who wish to donate items can bring them in between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. through 2 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.

  • Doral Legacy Park: 11400 NW 82 Street
  • Doral Meadow Park: 11555 NW 58th Street
  • Morgan Levy Park: 5300 NW 102nd Avenue

City officials said a list of items accepted include:

  • Water
  • Canned goods
  • Can openers
  • Mosquito spray
  • Sunscreen
  • Diapers Wipes (cleaning & baby)
  • Baby formula
  • First aid items
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Small generators

The Archdiocese of Miami is also accepting donations. To make a donation, click here.

Copyright 2020 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.